Floyd Mayweather Jr fought as if he had never left the ring, coming back from a year’s absence to win a unanimous 12-round decision over Robert Guerrero in their welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Arena on Saturday.
Mayweather was masterful at times, landing thudding right hands and bloodying Guerrero’s face in a performance that mimicked some of his best fights. Mayweather hurt Guerrero on several occasions, including a series of right hands near the end of the eighth round that buckled Guerrero’s knees. All three judges scored the bout 117-111 in Mayweather’s favour. “We did it again,” Mayweather said after earning at least $32 million for his night’s work. “I take my hat off to Robert Guerrero. He’s a true warrior.”
Mayweather remained unbeaten in 44 fights, while handing Guerrero only his second loss as a pro. Mayweather was booed at times for not mixing it up more, but he didn’t need to. He was content to move and land jabs and right-hand leads, while Guerrero grew increasingly frustrated trying to chase him. When Guerrero did hit him, Mayweather quickly got out of the way and, more often than not, landed a right hand of his own. “I landed some good shots on him,” Guerrero said. “He’s a great fighter. He’s slick and quick.”
Before the fight there had been some concern about Mayweather having ring rust after going a year without a fight – time that included a spell in jail for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. But he didn’t miss a beat, using his defensive skills to baffle Guerrero and keep him off balance. “I needed my father tonight,” said Mayweather, whose dad was in his corner for the first time in 13 years. “My defence was on point and he told me to stick with my defence and that the less you get hit the longer you last.”
Mayweather said he planned to fight again in September, a short turnaround for him, as part of a six-fight deal he has with the Showtime network. In Mannheim, meanwhile, Wladimir Klitschko retained his WBA and IBF heavyweight titles with a sixth-round knockout of Francesco Pianeta. The Ukrainian was never troubled by Pianeta and he finished off the unbeaten southpaw with a right-left combination. Pianeta stayed down before attempting to continue, but there was no point in delaying the inevitable and referee Ernie Sharif ended the bout two minutes, 52 seconds into the round.
Klitschko rocked Pianeta inside the first 30 seconds, knocked him to the canvas with a straight right down the middle in the fourth, and again with a left blow in the fifth. “Francesco wasn’t easy to box. He punched with the hardest punches I’ve ever felt. Luckily they didn’t hit me,” Klitschko said.
Pianeta dropped to 28-1-1 (15KO), while the 37-year-old Klitschko improved to 60-3 after his 52nd knockout.